Teachers are always on the lookout for ways they can get more response and engagement from their pupils, and ultimately produce better learning results. The latest generation of students going through the school system is widely seen as the digital generation – a group of kids who have never known a world without smartphones, laptops and the Internet. Educators are now experimenting with new ways to utilize new technologies and new lesson formats to better connect with this digital generation of students – and digital storytelling is one way they’re attempting to get better results in language classrooms.
Stories have long been used in language classrooms, but digital stories simply use new technology and formats to deliver those stories, making use of video, audio, writing and applications which all connect together to create a much more in-depth experience for the student.
Digital storytelling is about taking real-world stories from around the globe and sharing them in language classrooms as a learning aid. Students are able to get a more solid grasp on some language concepts when they are introduced through the story of a real person. Not only do students learn the fundamentals of grammar and vocabulary through the format of stories, they also pick up on cultural lessons and general life messages from what they hear. It emphasizes that people speaking the language they are attempting to learn may see the world with a completely unique perspective – a perspective they will need to grasp in order to truly master the language they’re learning.
Digital storytelling also gives students the opportunity to develop other skills in parallel with their new language skills. For example, students are encouraged to create their own language stories in the form of digital video – a practice which allows them to not only improve their ability to express themselves to an audience in a new language, but also to learn fundamental computer skills and video and audio editing. This leads to a richer, more well-rounded learning experience.